Custom Motorcycle Frame Builder And Beyond.

You know that a motorcycle frame is the first critical part on which to never sacrifice quality and integrity. Better work with experts who work on frame tables, use professional jigs, know about tubing bends, cross members and braces, and have the welding know-how to get a straight frame with a safe geometry. After that, the major issue facing both the pro and amateur custom builders is to modify again this “perfect frame” to work with the bike you have in mind, meaning fitting the components you have chosen (engine, transmission, front & rear suspension wheels, etc).

Because the principle of custom building is to create something different, you choose components that probably never met before on the same motorcycle and for sure never on your own custom frame. Throw in the mix multiple choices of driveline setups, left or right side, belt sizes or chain, width of wheels, rakes, rigid or swing arm, single sided swing arm anyone? etc and you get a very complex equation that an amateur builder may resolve alone or NOT or NEVER. He will find out later on the road, but it will be too late…

All pro builders will tell you that setting up correctly a driveline with perfect alignment on a one-off project frame with fancy components is very time consuming and probably the task on which they spend the most time (outside hand sheet metal fabrication.) and the one prone to the biggest errors with the most consequences. And since I don’t want any amateur builder to be discouraged from building his or her dream bike, I thought that in my Blog I would tell you about Rolling Thunder Frames, a very reputable frame company where the staff is available in assisting you, not on the phone, but in their shop. Not only to build any one-off custom frame you want (help them and yourself by bringing a sketch) but also to fit the main components you have chosen to get the perfect driveline/alignment/rake to make your one-off ride both safe and as cool riding than looking at it. As a matter of fact, until a few hours ago I even didn’t know myself that Rolling Thunder Frames was offering this service to all their clients ordering a frame. Rolling Thunder competing with professional custom builders? I don’t think so. These clients, and they must be respected for this, want absolutely to finish their bike after the basic and critical setup with engine, wheel and suspension is done. A way to sell more frames? Of course. But it’s also more true custom looking and safe riding bikes on the road with all the industry benefiting…

The pictures you see and that I requested to illustrate my point is a mock up that Rolling Thunder just finished for a client. The equation: customer wanted to use the front fork and the rear single sided swing arm of a Ducati and have them fit into a fancy custom FXR rubber mounted chassis. Rolling Thunder task was to find out the correct rake, trail and stretch for client’s taste/morphology/riding style, have the bike properly sit parallel to the ground with the correct front end length and rear mono shock placement, adjust rear hub eccentric, align perfectly the driveline using the correct offset, etc. How much they charge for a simple or sophisticated setup on one of their frames? I don’t know. Call them (Sam or Spencer at 450-699-7045.) But for all of you amateurs, semi pros, or even some busy shops wishing to save time, I would say their intervention may be priceless. Rolling Thunder Frames.

14 Responses to “Custom Motorcycle Frame Builder And Beyond.”

  1. 1 Ryan May 9th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I guess it’s the difference between a frame manufacturer and a custom frame builder. Top bikes are made from a frame conceived for the bike while average bikes are built from an existing mass produced frame. Depends of what you are looking for and of your budget.

  2. 2 Patrick Messmer May 9th, 2010 at 7:53 am

    There are so many bad frames in the after market world with transmission plate welded at the wrong place, crooked neck etc. that it makes the Rolling Thunder offer very interesting. No more blaming back and forth between the shop and the frame manufacturer with the client always ending up paying to fix the alignment problems.

  3. 3 Brandon May 9th, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Nice frame. Nice set up. Cyril, publish this one when it’s done.

  4. 4 Frank May 9th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I used a Rolling Thunder Frame for my bike. There service is great and they are always ready to help answer questions and give advise. And it doesnt matter if you order (1) frame or many, they treat everyone with the same respect.

    I worked specifically with Sam and he was awsome. Always willing to help and give advise. Are they the cheapest? No, but they actually care about the people who order their frames and if there is anything wrong or something they can help you with because of all their contacts, they definately do.

    If I build another bike, I would not use anyone else.

  5. 5 E'Ville Twin Motorsickle Co. May 9th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    We’ve used frames made by Spencer and the crew at Rolling Thunder for many years and always have awsome sucess with alignment . These frames are absolutely second to none the welds are perfect , the tubing is bent without kinks and everything lines up perfectly . If your looking for a frame for your next project do yourself a real favour and give Spencer a call .

  6. 6 Dave Blevins May 9th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    We’ve used frames from RC Components, Paughco, Penz (from Cyril of course), Racing Innovations, Etc, and have modified many factory frames. For the last 6 years we have built our own frames and springers for our custom builds, unless the customer specified another brand. My point is this, there are lots of good frame builders and lots of not-so-good builders. When in doubt, pick a name you know and trust… do some research and ask lots of questions before you buy.
    Stay clear of those great deals on Ebay unless you have the ability to check the frame for alignment and then be able to correct any problems.

  7. 7 T-bone May 10th, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I built a bike like this in 2006: ducati swingarm and wheels, fxr style drive line. The bike was in American Iron Mag.

    Check it out on Facebook!/pages/Fusion-Motorcycles/481682045312

  8. 8 Doug Wozney May 10th, 2010 at 8:53 am

    The bike I built for the S&S Cycle 50th Anniversary Build-off ( the Pro-Tour ‘X’) was based on the same chassis from Rolling Thunder. I feel one of the reasons that this bike brought home the People’s Choice award at that event was because of Rolling Thunder’s attention to detail. I’ve used chassis from a number of manufacturers over the last 15 years and Rolling Thunder ranks highest and that is the reason I turned to them when I was asked by the guys at S&S Cycle to modify a stock H-D FXR to accept an S&S X-Wedge powerplant. Spencer and Sam are always a pleasure to work with and it seems no matter what your request is, they”re capable of turning it into reality. I highly recommend Rolling Thunder to anyone looking for a completely new chassis or modification to an OEM chassis. Check out these links to see the Pro-Tour ‘X’ and the FXRX-Wedge.

  9. 9 Mark May 10th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Very nice to see others on the blog share their builds and rides. Nice stuff guys.

  10. 10 EVSWAY May 10th, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Do you still get a MSO ?

  11. 11 Steve 'brewdude' Garn May 11th, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Sam is the man! Great company! AAA+++

  12. 12 rat May 11th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    they are and gonna still be the best

  13. 13 Dave C. Copperhead Customs Inc. May 12th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    We just received an FXR style frame from Rolling Thunder for a customer build, The fit, finish and welds are top notch, Sam was very helpful during the construction of this “not so normal frame” and with communications during after the fact. I would highly recommend them and will continue to be a customer in the future. Dave

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